The word 'retail' is derived from the French word 'retaillier' meaning 'to cut a piece off' or 'to break bulk'. In simple terms it involves activities whereby product or services are sold to final consumers in small quantities.

Although retailing in its various formats has been around our country for many decades, it has been confined for along time to family owned corner shops.

Englishmen are great soccer enthusiasts, and they strongly think that one should never give Indians a corner. It stems from the belief that, if you give an Indian a corner he would end up setting a shop. That is how great Indians retail management skill is considered.

The Facts

Retailing in more developed countries is big business and better organised that what it is in India. Report published by McKinsey & Co. in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) states that the global retail business is worth a staggering US $ 7 trillion. The ratio of organised retailing to unorganized in US is around 80 to 20, in Europe it is 70 to 30, while in Asia it comes to around 20 to 80.

In India the scenario is quiet unique, organised retailing accounts for a mere 5% of the total retail sector. Although there are around 5 million retail stores in India, 90% of these have a floor space area of 500 sq.ft. or less. The emergence of organised retailing in India is a recent phenomenon and is concentrated in the top 20 urban towns and cities.

The Reason

This emergence of organised retailing has been due to the demographic and psychographic changes taking place in the life of urban consumers.

Growing number of nuclear families, working women, greater work pressure, changing values and Lifestyles, increased commuting time, influence of western way of life etc. have meant that the needs and wants of consumers have shifted from just being Cost and Relationship driven to Brand and Experience driven, while the Value element still dominating the buying decisions.

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